Monthly Archives: November 2016

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

15078865_10153930399541712_887778448076687684_n.jpgDual timeline stories are a favourite of mine and I have discovered the novels of Diana Gabaldon. I am reading Outlander (published in the United Kingdom as Cross Stitch in 1991) the first in a series of eight (so far) historical multi-genre novels.

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The main narrator is Word War II nurse Claire Randall, married to Frank Randall, who steps through a stone portal in Scotland and travels back in time to 18th century Scotland and finds romance with dashing Jamie Fraser.

The Outlander series is several genres: historical fiction, romance and fantasy. Outlander won the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award for Best Romance of 1991.

It was through the Outlander series on Netflix that I found my way to the books.

Diana Gabaldon is the New York Times bestselling author of the wildly popular Outlander novels—Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes (for which she won a Quill Award and the Corine International Book Prize), An Echo in the Bone, and Written in My Own Heart’s Blood—as well as the related Lord John Grey books Lord John and the Private Matter, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, Lord John and the Hand of Devils, and The Scottish Prisoner; two works of nonfiction, The Outlandish Companion, Volumes 1 and 2; the Outlander graphic novel The Exile; and The Official Outlander Coloring Book. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with her husband.

Courtesy: Penguin Random House

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Go Tell the Bees that I Am Gone is the ninth book in the Outlander series.

It’s an old Celtic custom to talk to your bees.  I wrote about bees in my recently published novel Castle of Dreams:

‘ . . .  We have an orchard and there’s an old apple tree with a low branch and a bees’ nest stuck fast into it. We have several hives. They keep us supplied with honey.’

     ‘I like bees,’ said Vivien. ‘My mother has beehives and tells them every significant event– every birth, marriage and death that occurs withing the community.

Old folklore.’ said William. He turned to Robert with a knowing smile. ‘My wife’s parents live in a strange falling-down castle in far north Queensland. Superstition came from Ireland with Vivien’s mother. She’s an unusual woman. 

     Vivien frowned. While what he said was true, she wondered why he’d told a stranger about her mother’s eccentricities. ‘The bees foretell death when they abscond from their hive,’ she said stubbornly. She knew William didn’t like it when she referred to her mother’s beliefs.

     ‘Vivien, surely you can’t believe that,’ William said coldly.

     ‘If the bees become hurt by neglect, you will suffer the consequences,’ she continued.

     Robert nodded, his expression serious. ‘I remember returning from my grandfather’s funeral and finding that the bees had absconded from their hives,’ he said.

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So plant lots of bee-loving flowers in your garden and if you have bee hives remember to talk to your bees.

My work-in-progress is another dual timeline story and I am writing about all things botanical. For this reason I’m sure there will be a few bees flying around pollinating all the blooms on Wallcliffe and the yet-to-be-named rambling estate in the Tumut Valley. It’s a story that includes all the things I love: mystery, romance, history and how the past  influences the present.

Good reading and writing,

Elise

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Elise McCune

Elise McCune is an Australian, Melbourne-based international author.

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Welcome to my website where you can see images of the places which inspire me and learn more about my stories.

Born in New South Wales, Australia, I moved to Perth, Western Australia where I raised my two children. I worked for ten years in the Western Australian Museum and during this time I travelled to Egypt and stayed in Cairo and Alexandria for an extended visit. I loved Egypt, its people and culture, and its history.

In 2016 I graduated from the  University of Iowa’s International Writing Program on fiction writing, centered on female authorial voices and female literary characters.

The online program was taught by Margot Livesey, Professor at the acclaimed Iowa Writers’ Workshop and author of seven novels and one short-story collection; and Christopher Merrill, Director of the International Writing Program, Professor of English at the University of Iowa, and author of six collections of poetry, five works of nonfiction, and many works of translation

I have a fascination for the beautiful landscapes of Australia which I weave through my stories. A sense of place is important to me and I like to explore how characters are shaped by unfamiliar places. I enjoy writing dual narrative stories set in two time periods: the past and the present and I also explore the theme of how the past impacts on the present.

Love, regret and yearning, and nostalgia for the past are things that most people can relate to and love is the most important of these.

I receive wonderful letters and emails from my readers, I answer every one, and I am grateful that through my stories I have, in some small way, given people something special.

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Castle of Dreams is a poignant, luminous novel about two sisters, about a mother and daughter, a loved granddaughter, the past that separates them and the healing that comes with forgiveness.

Norwegian publisher Cappelen Damm published  Castle of Dreams in translation in April 2017.

With the castle setting and family secrets the novel fits into the gothic genre, but ironically sans the cold and dark of the customary gothic, swapping it instead for tropical rain forest setting. Elise has given us a novel of rare beauty that matches that of the exquisite forest setting.  Paula Xiberras, Tasmanian Times 

 

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I am currently writing my second novel. One narrative thread is set in southwestern Australia and the other in the lovely Tumut Valley in New South Wales, Australia with some chapters set in 1920’s London.

Book Club discussion questions are on this blog at the Castle of Dreams page.

You can buy a copy of Castle of Dreams here:

https://www.amazon.com.au/Castle-Dreams-Elise-McCune-ebook/dp/B01ASQ8X22

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/castle-of-dreams-2

http://www.booktopia.com.au/castle…/prod9781760291846.html

https://www.bookdepository.com/Castle-Dreams-Elise-McCune/9781760291846

Contact details:

https://www.goodreads.com/EliseMcCune

http://www.elisemccune.com

Email: elisemccune1@gmail.com

And please visit my Facebook author page for updates and to chat with me.

https:///www.facebook.com/elisemccuneauthorpage

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